• Artist: Couzyn van Heuvelen
  • Medium: Sculptural Installation
  • Project Type: Commissioned Project
  • Neighbourhood: Scarborough

A reimagining of the avataq; a traditional float made from one full sealskin, inflated with air, plugged, and tied off.


300 Borough Dr

  • Address: 300 Borough
  • Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible

The Project

The avataq is an important tool used in conjunction with a harpoon in traditional Inuit hunting practices. It allows hunters to track and tire marine animals in order to catch them. This work relies on the shared similarities between the avataq and foil balloons to bring together the connotations both objects carry. It calls attention to a location or event by taking an inviting and accessible form such as the balloon, and is a way to celebrate Inuit culture and traditions. A series of avataqs will be on display at Nuit Blanche. A large 30-foot inflatable avataq will be viewable off Yonge Street and Temperance Street. Within Scarborough Town Centre multiple avataqs will be displayed as a pod.

The Artist

Couzyn van Heuvelen is an Inuk artist originally from Iqaluit, Nunavut. His work is primarily sculpture and installation-based exploring Inuit culture and identity, new and old technologies, and personal narratives. While rooted in the history and traditions of Inuit art, van Heuvelen strays from established Inuit art-making methods and explores a range of fabrication processes.


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